Update from The Outback: Parts 1 and 2

Part 1 – December 27, 2015

I parked Vincent overnight for a sleep at Tilpa Weir on the Tilpa floodplain, between Bourke and Wilcannia, Monday last week. It rained overnight and turned the road out next day into an impassable bog of river mud. We were stuck in the mud on a paddock for the day and the next night. My survival kit of food and water was in the boot of the car, which resulted in me getting pretty grimy in the process of bringing it back into the car. No phone reception or internet service available, and no-one was going to rescue us due to the remoteness of the place. I worked Vincent hard to get us out by the Wednesday morning and back to Tilpa Hotel, then had to remove the rear wheels to dig out the mud, which had basically acted like a handbrake during our race back to civilization. Also managed to bottom out and crack the sump oil tank.

That’s the short version of the story. When I arrived in Broken Hill on Christmas Eve I was fortunate indeed to find a NRMA mechanic who had us ready for the long journey ahead within about 4 hours.

Part 2 – November 22, 2017

In the long version, I’m at Tilpa Hotel having a meal in the fading light of the Monday. A couple of tourists stop in for a thirst quencher. I overhear them discussing whether to stay in Tilpa, or keep going and try to reach a sealed highway before the rain arrives. It’s like they are taking the internal dialogue right out of my mind. I’m well and truly over the bumping and rattling of this damnable corrugated road: I can rest tonight and complete it in the probable puddles and potholes in the morning, or keep on rattling through the darkness for a couple of hours. Neither option is appealing: it’s quite the dilemma.

Fast forwarding now to my second night at Tilpa, bogged in the paddock as I am, and sleeping in the driver seat with the window open. I’m having a weird dream about nothing in particular, and something is huffing and snorting in my face. I’m slowly waking up now and beginning to realise that the dream has stopped but the breathing on my face has not. I open my eyes and begin to make out the source of the breathing: the very large head of a bull! I immediately and involuntarily shout with surprise down its throat. It leaps backwards, spins away, then spins again to stare me down. I notice a bunch of cows suddenly shooting away in all directions.

2 years have passed since then, and I’ve only just learned to recognise the second dilemma I had been facing!

Wikipedia: Horns of a dilemma

Night like an empire falls

 

Plushes Bend of Murray River at civil twilight

Plushes Bend of Murray River at civil twilight

 

Night like an empire falls

to the civil reflection

of one twilight pelican

dreamily shadow ghost rafting.

 

The spirit that once held me up,

my love, remote tears of whisky

seen through a series of still frames

on pixels of wine glass penumbras.

 

The wind slips in whispers

that ripple the river,

and the last morning after

the night before raindrops

cool, calm and collectedly

bead leaves of lilies,

belying what we know already:

 

The strains in relief

around all of those lily leaves

bear the same burden

all rain beads are found under.

 

Water lilies at Plushes Bend of Murray River

Water lilies at Plushes Bend of Murray River


Red String of Fate

When heat huddles by white-hot horizons
and puddles black bitumen blue,
you don’t stop for water poured into a cup
to become cup before it is in you.

When white-hot horizons burn into the wind-
screen and ghost the glass over with ghost-skies,
you’re up to your nose in the end of a road
you’ve been driving so long you’ve gone cross-eyed.

When a breeze cold as glass can be cold in the heat,
and puddles of blue on black bitumen meet,
and plenty of dry leaves and dust are about,
and your eyes are on straight, and the ghosties are out,

the invisible Red String of Fate will rise up
like water still spinning is not yet the cup.

Update from the Riverland

After spending the new year’s eve and day exploring around the Murray mouth, Goolwa, Hindmarsh Island, Coorong National Park, and Narrung, I arrived back at Waikerie in the Riverland region of South Australia shortly after dawn this morning. I need to slow down for a day or two in order to take stock of where I have been and gather my memories: in fact, I’m considering abandoning the next leg to the source of the Murray River in the Australian Alps. With only one week left to spare, I suspect it will be too much of a rush job. I’ve found a handy recharge point outside the Waikerie Library, so I’ll chill here for a bit while my devices recharge and see how the day develops.

We’ve had some extremely hot and windy days of late, making daytime photography both difficult and unpleasant. The opportunities for low light photography have been great though. It is a good thing I purchased a lens suited to that purpose before I began the journey.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year, and looking forward to catching up with your blogs when I have returned home.

Lake Bonney, South Australia

Lake Bonney, South Australia

Lake Bonney, South Australia

Lake Bonney, South Australia

Update from The Outback

I parked Vincent overnight for a sleep at Tilpa Weir on the Tilpa floodplain, between Bourke and Wilcannia, Monday last week. It rained overnight and turned the road out next day into an impassable bog of river mud. We were stuck in the mud on a paddock for the day and the next night. My survival kit of food and water was in the boot of the car, which resulted in me getting pretty grimy in the process of bringing it back into the car. No phone reception or internet service available, and no-one was going to rescue us due to the remoteness of the place. I worked Vincent hard to get us out by the Wednesday morning and back to Tilpa Hotel, then had to remove the rear wheels to dig out the mud, which had basically acted like a handbrake during our race back to civilization. Also managed to bottom out and crack the sump oil tank.

That’s the short version of the story. When I arrived in Broken Hill on Christmas Eve I was fortunate indeed to find a NRMA mechanic who had us ready for the long journey ahead within about 4 hours.

I have spent the last few days in and around Broken Hill: Silverton, Mundi Mundi Plains, Lake Menindee. Now heading south for the Murray Mouth. Here’s a small sample of what I’ve been working on in the Broken Hill region.

Facing the Day and the Night _ Eduardo Nasta Luna

Facing the Day and the Night _ Eduardo Nasta Luna

Mundi Mundi Sunset

Mundi Mundi Sunset

 

Mundi Mundi Moonrise

Mundi Mundi Moonrise